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Treat your tastebuds - and your wallet - to a good time

September 11, 2020

In spite of all the restrictions that still linger in and around restaurants and small businesses, our entrepreneurs continue to step up to the plate to give good value for your dining dollar. To that end, I pledge every waking moment to keeping Cape Gazette readers on the leading edge. So let’s get down to business.

There are a number of wallet-friendly places out there that wow us with their menus. The Cameron Brothers’ Grandpa(MAC) on The Highway next to the soon-to-be-gone Pier One Imports gives a particularly good bang for the buck.

On Rehoboth Avenue, Semra’s Mediterranean Grill cranks out authentic - and entirely house-made - gyros, kabobs and Semra’s grandmother’s own Turkish dishes. Start with their fresh babaghanouj, then move on to the Iskender platter. Semra’s rice is not to be believed. Trust me on this. And you’ll have money left over.

Two of the best-kept secrets at Bryan Derrickson’s Conch Island Grill are the food and the prices. Yes, the place certainly fills the bill as an entertainment venue, but if you’re feeling peckish, towering burgers, unusual apps and well-prepared steaks take center stage. Two of my pick hits are the conch chowder and the conch fritters.

Just a few doors west, one of Rehoboth’s newest spots is a dream fulfilled for longtime Realtor Joe Maggio and partner Tony Sacco. At the corner of Rehoboth and Lake avenues, Port 251 is wowing customers with salmon stuffed with crab imperial, lobster sliders and a particularly authentic salad Niçoise.

If you want to fill up on a tight budget, Arena’s is a good bet. After 20 years of putting together overstuffed sandwiches and mountainous nachos, it’s obvious they’re doing something right. And it gets even better on their specials nights. Half-price sandwiches, nachos and tacos are weekly hallmarks of this successful restaurant group. You will not leave hungry.

A tucked-away little spot for homemade Salvadorean vittles is none other than Cabanas restaurant directly across Coastal Highway from Bethany Blues. Simple surroundings with plates overflowing with pupusas, banana leaf-wrapped tamales and shrimp burritos will barely make a dent in your change purse. Owners Fredy Garcia and Joaquin Cortez make sure of that.

A couple of places off the beaten path have proven to be happy places for the thrifty-at-heart. One is The Nook in Paynter’s Mill. Dina Escamilla and her husband Oscar are whipping up breakfasts, lunches and dinners in humble surroundings. And it’s not unusual to be waited on by Dina herself.

A few minutes’ drive north reveals one of the least expensive eateries around. Westside Restaurant has been in downtown Milford for over 25 years, so there’s no excuse for not trying it out. Owner Medula glides from table to table engaging her regulars in conversation while serving pancakes the size of a Cadillac hubcap, crunchy-on-the-outside-savory-on-the-inside scrapple, homemade chicken ‘n’ dumplins and her very own Greek-Night specials. The stuffed peppers are one of my pick hits. And believe it or not, the great majority of entrees at Westside are less than $10. Talk about wallet friendly!

Back at the beach is Chris and Gary Desch’s Chaps Pit Beef. I’ve owned restaurants before, and I’m not sure how they serve up such generous portions at those prices. And it’s not just beef sizzling on a fire: they’ve got ribs, combination sandwiches, gigantic hot dogs and a banana pudding that will knock your proverbial socks off. (Hint: Try the potato salad!) The kitchen is completely open, so it’s sort of like dinner and a show.

Back downtown is The Pond, a longtime locals’ watering hole that I missed in my cheesesteak roundup column last week. It’s yet another entertainment venue with surprisingly good prices. Yes, do try the cheesesteak, but their Sloppy Joe Tots and Angus Burgers will also get your attention.

So many places, so little Cape Gazette ink! Yes, there are more that I want to tell you about, but this will get you started, and can in fact serve as your printed program guide. Check The Business of Eating every Friday to stay up-to-date on the culinary professionals who keep our Cape Region eating.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

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